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New Visions contract delivers money, time

New York Teacher

The UFT has successfully negotiated a new four-year contract with four New Visions charter schools, winning an across-the board pay increase totaling 8 percent, a shorter work day and a shorter school year.

“This is a significant win for the New Visions teachers,” said Anne Goldman, the UFT vice president for non-DOE employees. “Their pay and working conditions are improved because of our negotiations and the input of the faculty into the contract.”

The UFT began representing staff at two of the New Visions charter schools in 2012; two other schools were organized in 2015 and 2017.

Under the new contract, UFT members will receive pay increases of 3 percent, 1.5 percent, 2 percent and 1.5 percent over the next four years. The work day will be shortened from 8½ hours to 8 hours. The school year also will no longer begin at the beginning of August; this year, it will begin 12 days prior to Labor Day and in following years, school will begin 10 days prior to Labor Day.

The new contract also clarifies and improves the process for teachers to appeal their end-of-year ratings.

“It was a matter of retention and recruitment,” said J.P. Passero, the chapter leader at New Visions Charter HS for Advanced Math and Science in the Bronx. “To hire and keep the best teachers, you have to offer competitive compensation for the extensive work we’re doing. This contract closes the gap by giving us a few days back over the summer and providing a shorter school day.”

The other schools covered by the contract are New Visions Charter HS for the Humanities and New Visions Charter HS for the Humanities II, both in the Bronx; and New Visions Charter HS for the Humanities III in Brooklyn.

This is the UFT’s third negotiated New Visions contract. It covers 225 teachers and 25 school counselors in the four schools.

Passero, who teaches AP literature and 12th-grade English, said he has friends who teach in other charter schools with no collective bargaining rights. “They have no stability, and some of them have dealt with an administration that changes how they are evaluated or paid almost on a whim,” he said. “So by banding together, we’ve achieved better working conditions.”